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So Chan
Native name 蘇燦
Born unknown
Nanhai District, Foshan, Guangdong, Qing Empire
Died unknown
unknown, Qing Empire
Other names So Fa-tsz (蘇花子)
Beggar So (蘇乞兒)
Style Drunken boxing
Brutal boxing
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 蘇燦
Simplified Chinese 苏灿
Fa-tsz
(courtesy name)
Chinese 花子
So Hut-yee
(nickname)
Traditional Chinese 蘇乞兒
Simplified Chinese 苏乞儿
Literal meaning Beggar So

So Chan (courtesy name Fa-tsz), also known by his nickname Beggar So, was a late Qing dynasty martial artist and a folk hero. He was best known for his Drunken boxing skills and was one of the Ten Tigers of Canton.

Background[edit | edit source]

Born during the late Qing Dynasty, So Chan was from Nanhai District, Foshan, Guangdong, or Hunan according to one source,[1] he was skilled in unarmed Chinese martial arts skills in Drunken Eight Immortals Boxing (醉八仙) and Shaolin staff (少林棍棒) said to be taught by the Shaolin monk Chan Fook,[2] and also Brutal boxing (殘拳).

He formulated the unusual Golden Bowl and Iron Chopsticks technique (金碗鐵筷), which involved the use of an iron bowl on one hand to provoke the opponent and striking the opponent's acupuncture points with the iron chopsticks on another hand.[3]

He was a wanderer and made a living performing martial arts and acrobatics with his younger sister in the streets of Guangdong. He also taught martial arts at Sancheng Community Training Centre (三聖社設教館) in Guangzhou and would later known as one of the Ten Tigers of Canton.[4] So exchanged ideas with So Hak-fu (蘇黑虎), a fellow martial artist of the Ten Tigers of Canton, and imparted the technique of Golden Bowl and Iron Chopsticks along with some of his Drunken Boxing skills to him. He also exchanged ideas with two other Ten Tigers martial artists Leung Kwan and Wong Kei-ying as well.

According to a folklore, So Chan taught Wong Fei-hung in Drunken boxing.

It was assumed that So was believed to have died during the early reign of the Guangxu Emperor.[5]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

He was first portrayed by Yuen Siu-tien in the 1978 film Drunken Master, and Yuen was often associated with the character Beggar So ever since.

He was portrayed by Kwok Choi-hon in the 1978 film Ten Tigers of Shaolin.

He was portrayed by Yuen Siu-tien again in the 1979 film Story of Drunken Master.

Yuen went on to reprise the role in the 1979 film Dance of the Drunk Mantis.

He was portrayed by Philip Kwok in the 1979 film Ten Tigers from Kwangtung.

Yuen Siu-tien reprised the role for the last time only as a cameo in the opening credits of the 1979 film The World of the Drunken Master.

Yuen supposed to have a reprisal role of So Chan in the 1979 film Magnificent Butcher, he however, died on 8 January 1979 as production of the film began. The portrayal of So Chan in this film was taken over by Fan Mei-sheng.

He was portrayed by Chow Yun-fat in the 1982 TVB television drama series The Legend of Master So.

He was portrayed by Stephen Chow in the 1992 film King of Beggars.

He was portrayed by Donnie Yen in the 1993 film Heroes Among Heroes.

He was portrayed by Lam Chi-ho in the 1999 ATV television drama series Ten Tigers Of Guangdong.

He was portrayed by Felix Wong in the 2000 television drama series The Legend of Master Soh.

He was portrayed by Pu Ye Dong in the 2005 television drama series Kung Fu Beggar.

He was portrayed by Vincent Zhao in the 2010 film True Legend.

He was portrayed by an opera actor Zhang Xinyi of the Xiuqin Opera Troupe in the opera show Beggar So during the Kaohsiung Spring Art Festival 2016.

He was portrayed by Jun Cao in the 2016 film Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So.

References[edit | edit source]

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